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“I’m vain, I always wear white socks on my bike”

“I’m vain, I always wear white socks on my bike”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts

The Seven Sins of triathlete Donald Hillebregt


  • Greed. I don’t have time to be greedy. I train and I study, that’s it. That said, I do always like to have the best bike, the best wetsuit and the best shoes. I have them now and am very happy with them. I’m an only child and have great parents who always support me, but I don’t think I’m spoilt.
  • Gluttony. When competition season begins again, in March, I’ll need to weigh around 72 kilos. During winter I tend to hover around 76. I love a Nutella sandwich, but I’m better off avoiding it. Sweets, too, in all their sorts and sizes – they’re full of fat but have no nutritional value. I rarely drink alcohol, it has so much sugar. I find it easy to avoid that too; I don’t have much of a student life, more of a sports life.
  • Lust. I’ve been with my girlfriend for three years, we live together. [Smiles broadly] I get plenty of attention from women, they like a fit body like this. But I don’t cheat, I like Jikke way too much for that.
  • Envy. I’m originally a swimmer; I find running the hardest part of the triathlon. I’m jealous of those fast runners, but I use that feeling to help me improve. Former athletes like the skater Bart Veldkamp and swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband are examples for me. They have a winning mentality, do whatever it takes to be the first over the finish line.
  • Sloth. Outside my sport I can be lazy. When I come home from training I’m tired and tend to leave things messy. My girlfriend doesn’t always appreciate that. I’m not exactly fanatical in my studies either; I’m happy with a 6, where as a triathlete I always want to get a 10. 
  • Wrath. Injuries are infuriating. You want to keep going but you have to hold back. And coming second is awful too. I don’t go throwing things around though, not yet anyway.
  • Pride. [Chuckling] I’m vain, I always wear white socks on my bike. And my hair has to look good too. We have ten mirrors at home and I definitely use them. I’m training for Tokyo 2020 and I think I can qualify. I’ve been doing this since 2011 and am really making strides now, especially with my new trainer. Last year I ran the 10 kilometres in 32 minutes; this year I shaved a minute off that. I’ll have to lose another 30 seconds in order to qualify. As for medals, we’ll have to wait and see – I don’t know yet what I can do.

Donald Hillebregt, 24, fifth-year student of Fiscal Economics (Hillebregt is spreading the bachelor’s degree out over six years), born in Haarlem, raised in Hillegom.

Trains 20 to 30 hours per week, aiming to take part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Best performance to date (Olympic distance: 1.5 km swim, 40 km cycle, 10 km run): 26th in the World Cup in Miyazaki (Japan), 9th in ETU cup in Egirdir (Turkey), 2nd in the Dutch National Championships in 2017, in the top 10 of the Europacups and 170th in the world rankings. “I want to be in the top 100 by the end of 2017.”

This is a series about students who sport at the highest level



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